I went to my Physio Therapist today. She is a wonderful lady who helps our whole family to become more mobile and to move us towards wholeness. She is very knowledgeable and gifted. I recently did major damage to my elbow, handling snow. It was a freak accident that I thought nothing of at the time but developed into a very painful and debilitating injury. I certainly won’t be arm wrestling in the near future (LOL). She is working on the problem and it is getting better. The one thing she said to me is that I need to endure, to hang in, as things progress. In other words, to “persevere.”
I immediately thought of the Christian life. When you read the pages of scripture you see people in the Old Testament and in the New Testament enduring, persevering, in day to day living. We also witness writers like the Apostle Paul and the writer to the Hebrews encouraging people to hang in and hang on. The first century brought localized and general persecutions where God’s people were scattered because of opposition to the Gospel. Where do these people that expose a prosperity gospel get their rational from? It isn’t from a consistent reading and interpretation of the word of God. It actually comes from misapplied Old Testament scriptures, taken out of context!
I want to encourage you, today. If you are experiencing what I believe is normal, the ups and downs of life, there is nothing wrong with you. You are normal. Welcome to the human race. We all live with joys and disappointments, with blessings and challenges. It is our ability to persevere, through Christ, that separates us from the world. Notice that Paul encourages us to look forward, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:17-18). The Apostle James reminds us of the same principle: “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
Davon Huss tells the story of a boy who came home one hot afternoon, anxious to take a cool swim in the pond behind his home. He lived in South Florida, so taking a quick dip was a common way to cool off. He was so anxious to get in the water, he didn’t even go inside to change clothes. He just raced for the pond, dropping his shoes, shirt, and socks along the way.
His mother spotted him diving off the dock, and went outside to check on him.
As she watched her son swim toward the middle of the lake, she also spotted an alligator moving from the far shore, toward her son! She began screaming the warnings, and the boy stopped in mid-swim. He finally understood the danger, and began racing back toward the dock. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him.
It was a tug-of-war from a mother’s worst nightmare. From the dock, she pulled his arms. From the water, the alligator held his legs. The water was quickly stained with blood.
A farmer driving by heard the screams, and ran to help. He shot the alligator and helped the mother call for help. The boy survived, and after several weeks of hospitalization, was ready to talk with a news reporter. The reporter asked the child if he could see where the alligator had bitten him. With the typical pride of a boy, he showed off his healing wounds to the interested reporter. “But wait,” said the boy, “look at these!” With that, he showed the reporter the scars on his arms. “I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Mom wouldn’t let go.”
Jesus' nail scared hands remind us He will not “let go". He will sustain us and keep us till we are safely home. It is sometimes a tug of war but, through Christ’s victory on the cross, He has already won! Hang tight – keep biblical expectations before you and be assured as Isaiah states, “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” (Isiah 41:13). Take hold of God’s hand!
God bless! Hang tight
– Pastor Ralph